Download Writing Systems: An Introduction to Their Linguistic by Florian Coulmas PDF

By Florian Coulmas

The matter of decreasing language to writing and conversely that of studying written indicators as language has been resolved in the course of the improvement of alternative writing platforms. This illustrated textbook introduces the most important writing platforms of the realm (from cuneiform to English spelling) and analyzes their constitution and serve as. It incorporates a overview of the historical past of writing and a dialogue of the literate brain and society.

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Writing and transcription are functionally very different. Writing is for readers who have little need for minute phonetic information because they know the language that is written and, therefore, do not depend on such information for identifying meaningful units in the text. Rather, they are better served by a system that filters out unnecessary phonetic information and even omits phonological information for the sake of morphology and grammar. It is in this sense that ‘a writing system is a grammar – a description of a language’ (Scholes and Willis 1991: 230).

The functions of other ancient graphic signs are easier to determine. 1 Carved bones, approximately 35,000 years old. 2), was memory support and social control. These systems are mnemonic devices, which embodied social obligations and conventionalized promises such as repayments of debts and warrants of goods to be delivered. The quipu were a recording system that enumerated different classes of objects and people. It has been reported by early Spanish sources that the cords also held non-quantitative information such as history, mythology and astronomy, although no conclusive evidence has been established in support of this assumption.

He speaks of a ‘proto-written’ variety underlying speech arguing that in a literate speech community speakers ‘intuitively feel that speech is a rendition of writing, not vice versa’ (Householder 1971: 253). In many cases this is undeniable. An ever increasing part of the vocabulary of written languages come into existence in writing. They can be given a phonetic interpretation, which, however, is decidedly secondary. What is more, thanks to the impact of literacy schooling, it is likely that most educated people’s conception of language should be influenced by writing.

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